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Period 3

Vindolanda and its setting


The conquest of northern Britain

Vindolanda and its northern context

Locations around Vindolanda

Pre-Hadrianic Vindolanda

Period 1

Period 2

Period 3

Period 4

Period 5

Forts and military life



Reading the tablets

about this exhibition

Period 3 at Vindolanda

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Period 3 at Vindolanda

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© Vindolanda Trust

Date: AD 97-105

This phase of development probably represents a renovation rather than a wholesale reorganisation of the fort. The gateway was moved to the west because of subsidence into the ditch of the Period 1 fort. The praetorium was the best preserved of the buildings excavated in any phase. Quality of construction was much improved in comparison to the previous period. Dressed oak was used for structural timbers and some rooms were floored with timber planking. As before there was extensive evidence for craft activity, including metal- and leatherworking. This may signify that the building was the fort's workshop (fabrica), a building similar in plan to a praetorium. However discovery of the correspondence of the garrison commander, Flavius Cerialis, as well as letters belonging to his wife Lepidina, suggest that the building is the praetorium. The excavated area section was perhaps the service wing.

Most writing tablets were excavated in period 3 contexts. Many were found in the yard and road immediately adjacent to the praetorium, in particular amongst the remains of bonfires which had failed to consume the tablets and other rubbish placed on them. The ninth cohort of Batavians and possibly other units garrisoned Vindolanda in this period, including the third cohort of Batavians (263, 311). The most frequently attested individual in the tablets, Flavius Cerialis, was prefect of this cohort around AD 100. Cavalry mentioned in tablet (159) might be part of this cohort (if it was a 'part-mounted unit') or might be from another unit. In 104, both the third and ninth cohorts were moved to the Danube region in the preparations for the second campaigns by the emperor Trajan against the Dacians in what is now Romania (AD 105-106).

Tablet database link: Browse the tablets found in Period 3.

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